Players for the Indianapolis Racers, faced with the possible financial collapse of their club, agreed unanimously yesterday to accept salary deferments for the next three months, the team's coach and its president told the Associated Press.
Coach Jacques Demers and president Harold Ducote would not disclose how much of the players' salaries would be withheld. Demers said "a small percentage."
He said the players would be repaid in full at the end of the current World Hockey Association season.
The players' agreement apparently staved off the Racers' second financial crisis this season.Last October, stockholders replaced the club's president and general manager after the debtridden team nearly was unable to pay its bills.
Ducote, haed of Indianapolis Hockey, Inc., which assumed control of the team in October, said yesterday he had "obtained the conditions that we think are necessary for the longterm survival of the club."
In addition to the players' pay deferment, he said he had obtained a "large injection of capital by the owners" and added "there are some other steps that have been taken by our friends for which we are very grateful."
He declined to specify how much money the owners had provided and refused to elaborate on the steps his friends have taken.
Meanwhile, in another WHA franchise crisis, Minnesota Fighting Saints president Bob Brown said yesterday he has found no local buyers for his team, which suspended operations Friday night.
"To be liable, this franchise needs local ownership," Brown said. "We offered a deal to the community at zero purchase price. We couldn't work anything out."
He said anyone could have stepped in at the guarantee of Saints' owner Nick Mileti that current debts would not exceed $100,000. The new owners also would be starting clean because there is still $110,000 in an escrow fund in a St. Paul Bank.
The chances that the club would survive were dampened by the sale Friday of its top seven players to the Edmonton Oilers. The sale was made with the permission of the league office.